The 25 best horror movie posters


You probably see it hundreds of time each and every day. Whether it's on the side of a bus or on the underground, the poster for 'Final Destination 5' seems to be absolutely everywhere at the moment.

Maybe part of the reason they felt comfortable promoting this particular poster design so heavily is because it's actually a really cool design. So cool, in fact, that it inspired me to create this... my top twenty-five horror movie poster designs ever. Kicking off with Final Destination's most recent design, see what else made my list. Also, be sure to add any suggestions for any posters you think should be included in this list in the comments box at the bottom of the blog.

House Of The Dead - 2003

This French offering received some pretty dreadful reviews, and the storyline is pretty week. A group of teenagers head to an island for a rave party what do you know, the party is crashed by a group of zombies who have taken over the island... typical. Despite it's bad reviews though, the film still managed to churn out a pretty cool poster. The idea of basing the poster around looking through a keyhole is both very simply but very powerful.
The Abandoned - 2006

Children's dolls have massive potential in the creepy stakes, especially when they stare at the camera and cry blood.
Grace - 2009

'Grace' is a delightful tale about a newborn baby who's appetite is exclusively focused on human blood. Given that this is the underlying premise behind the storyline of the film, the poster really hasn't done anything particularly clever. Unless of course you choose to see their 'what you see is what you get' approach as in fact being quite clever in its simplicity and realisation that the storyline premise is strong enough to fully dictate the content of the poster. Either way, the resulting poster looks great. To focus the entire thing on one object, being the bottle, really creates a strong image and selling point around the film.
The Eye - 2008

This 2008 film featuring Jessica Alba is a remake of a Hong Kong entitled "Jian Gui". The storyline for this film is a bit lame; a women gets an eye transplant and thereafter is able to see into the supernatural world. Luckily, for this list it doesn't matter how bad the storyline is because the poster is cool.
Candyman - 1992

Following on from abaove, we have another eye-based design here. However, the wasp being positioned next to the eye in this poster works more similarly to the 'bloodletting' poster listed below which features a razorblade on a tongue. Take a vulnerable area, like the eye, and put something sharp or dangerous next to it and you are pretty much guaranteed to get a great effect.
Shutter - 2008

The poster for shutter is just a really cool piece of artwork. Making a large image out of lots of smaller photographs or images has been done a million times in other areas but seems really fresh when put into a horror genre context. Tying in perfectly with the story-line of the film being based around ghostly images in photographs, this poster works really well all round.
Dead Girl - 2008

Deadgirl is a multi award-winning film which sees a couple of school boys discover a girl held prisoner in a deserted mental hospital who is incapable of dying. It's a bit of a reverse on the normal zombie formula where zombie's completely outnumber the non-infected by in this case essentially just having one zombie. Despite being a few years old, the poster for Deadgirl looks totally up-to-date. In fact, probably a lot more so than most of the re-hashed poster designs coming out right now. There is a power in the real simplicity and boldness of this poster design.
Poltergeist 2: The Other Side - 1986

This poster makes great use of essentially empty space. The extreme chiaroscuro effect with the brightly lit girl against such an expanse of blackness creates a great isolation effect that leaves the viewer to fill in the surrounding black space with their own imagination.
Psycho - 1998

This 1998 rehash of the 1960 original may not have stood out like the original version was able to but the got their poster design spot on. This poster allows the content of the film to really sell itself but basing the design on one of the film's most iconic scenes, and the equivalent scene form the original being one of the most iconic scenes in film generally.
28 Days Later - 2002

An awesome poster which is comprised of three main elements. The first being the demonic eyes set at the top of the poster. The second element is the biohazard based symbol which really identifies the underlying storyline of the film; that it is a virus which has broken out rather than the tradition type of zombie's rising out the ground in an old church yard. The last main elemt of the poster is the silhouetted backdrop of London featuring the main character
aimlessly wondering the streets looking for any signs of human life.
Autopsy - 2008

A very nice and 'clean' poster, this is another case of simplicity carrying the most weight. A clear idea behind the visual really doesn't require anythign else to eb included in the shot.
Blood Letting

'Bloodletting' over forty promotional images and they are all as awesome as the one shown here. To check out the other images put together for this film click here. The poster undoubtedly has a sexy vibe to it but it also has a knee-jerk element via the juxtaposition of the woman's tongue with the razor blade sitting on it. This poster really grabs your attantion.
The Exorcist - 1973

The image of this poster doesn't just make a great horror poster. It's one of the most recognised movie images in history. The chiaroscuro scene is an instantly recognisable symbol for this truely iconic film
Teeth - 2007

A film that only men can really understand the fear of, 'Teeth's' poster, by using an X-ray image cleverly allows them to be as graphic as they like without really being graphic at all.
Silent Hill - 2006

Movies based on video games don't usually have the greatest track record for success at the cinema. Something the transition from the world of gaming to the big screen is able to facilitate, however, is an already solidified range of imagary and style. Silent Hill is no exception here. From demonic baddies like 'pyramid-head' to nurses with bandage-wrapped faces, the movie was able to have it's pick from a range of bizarre, creepy and highly stylised characters to create posters from. This one features one of their many charming and friendly-looking characters that I simply refer to as 'that weird leg guy'.
One Missed Call - 2008

'One Missed Call' is a remake of "Chakushin Ari", a Japanese film released five years prior. This more modern version was able to produce a far better promotional poster for itself though. The use of mouths for the eyes creates a poster that really grabs your attention the first time you see it.
Dead Silence - 2008

Ventriloquist puppets have always been scary. Whether as a child or an adult they are just truely horrible, horrible things. It seems weird to think that their intended purpose is actually not to be the stars of horror films but to be entertaining in a non terrifying way. Anyway, this puppet is scary. The effect is only added to by the human-like marks and scars on his hand.
30 Days Of Night - 2007

This film presented us with a vampire image that was like something between a modern street gang and the vampire as portrayed in 'Nosferatu' from 1922. The film definitely had a cool, modern vibe and the poster matches this well. It looks a bit like a Frank Miller illustration with a real emphasis on blood splatter and fangs... nice.
The Crazies - 2010

Nothing quite sums up infection and quarantine like a gas mask. It takes a couple of looks at this poster to see that the shaded side of the gas mask becomes more skull-like with a definite skull-shaped nose.
Hostel - 2005

This poster looks remarkably like the poster for 1980's 'Maniac'. A nice horror variation is the tuned round severed head allowing you to see the lifeless facial expression.
The Silence Of The Lambs - 1991

The artwork for this film won the Key Art Award for Best of the Last 25 Years (source). What makes this poster particularly cool is that the skull in the centre of the butterfly is actually made of seven people shaping their bodies to make a skull image.
Jaws - 1975

This poster has to be included purely on it's iconic status level. So many postrs after this based themselves on this design. This is the original and the best of the illustrated shark movie posters.
Saw 3 - 2006

The Saw films are fans of creating posters with pieces of human body parts spelling out the corresponding number in the series of the films. In this case the '3' is spelt out with three hanging teeth. There is also another tooth design, as well as two fingers with nibbled nails spelling out '2' in 'Saw 2', for example.


Did your favourite not make it onto the list? Place your suggestions in the comments box below.

By Chris Fiander


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